How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Nurse Practitioner? What Nurse Practitioner do? Degrees for Nurse Practitioner, Steps to become Nurse Practitioner and much more.

A nurse practitioner has higher qualification and training than a registered nurse. They are specialized in a particular area, such as family practice or pediatrics. Nurse practitioner prescribes medication, examines patients, diagnoses illnesses, and provides treatment to patients with or without a medical doctor sign on patient care decisions depending on the state.

What does a Nurse Practitioner do ?

A nurse practitioner generally focuses on preventative and holistic care, with personalized treatment areas for each individual patient.

  • Prescribe specific medications, including the frequency and dose.

  • Diagnose and treat infections, wounds, and illnesses.

  • Direct and arrange diagnostic tests to be conducted such as x-rays and EKGs.

  • Record and examine the medical history, diagnoses, and symptoms of a patient.

  • Talk to patients about effectively managing their health, as well as helping in designing proper treatment plans.

  • Give care and direction to patients with regards to taking medication.

Steps for becoming a Nurse Practitioner


Become A Registered Nurse

To become a Nurse Practitioner you first have to complete all certification and get licensed as Registered Nurse. There are several academic paths to become a Registered Nurse. An associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or a diploma from an approved vocational training program is needed to become a Registered Nurse.


Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a Master’s degree is mandatory to become a Nurse Practitioner. Most Colleges require Bachelor of Science in Nursing and some work experience before being accepted into Nurse Practitioner Program. Master’s degree level curriculum for a nurse practitioner follows the general course of study for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), with specialized NP education and training.


Obtain License And Certification

All 50 states require a license to become a Nurse Practitioner. To obtain License for Nurse Practitioner one must hold a master's degree in nursing and a valid state RN license and also pass a national certification examination.


Pursue Further Specialization

Obtaining additional credentials relating to a specific area of specialization increases the marketability of the candidate and opens up more opportunity. Examples of specialization as an APRN include Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG ACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioner Degree Levels


A bachelor’s degree in nursing prepares students for a job as a registered nurse (RN) and also provides the educational foundation for a master’s degree in the field. Bachelor’s program in nursing is a mix of classroom and clinical learning where students are exposed to different topics and real-time training. Students take a variety of introductory courses on topics such as emergency care, health assessments, nutrition, public and global health, and current trends in nursing.

  • Problem-solving skill

  • Critical-Thinking skill

  • Advance Research skill

  • Environmental factors linked to the development of certain illnesses

  • How various pathological changes can manifest in a patient or population

  • Critically evaluate medical journals

Pharmacological Concepts
  • pharmacological concepts

  • Advanced research skills

  • Nursing ethics

  • Identify pharmacodynamics of the major classification of drugs

  • Administration of medications

  • Pathophysiologic conditions

Emergency Care and Safety
  • Environmental Emergencies

  • Medical Emergencies

  • Professional Rescuer CPR

  • To understand the basics of first aid in an emergency setting

  • Advanced topics in disaster planning

  • Incident command, triage and oxygen therapy


A master of science in nursing is the minimum educational requirement to become a licensed nurse practitioner. Many programs combine professional core courses that dig deeper into subjects learned at the undergraduate level with clinical courses that focus on a particular specialty.

Philosophical and Ethical Basis for Nursing
  • Nursing Practice and Regulation

  • Promoting Moral Action in Nursing

  • Human Rights

  • Provides a framework of nursing and ethics

  • Ethical issues affecting nurses

  • Effective ways to respond to issues

Clinical Pharmacology
  • Biochemical Mechanisms for Drug Toxicity

  • Drug Absorption

  • Pharmacokinetics

  • Study of clinical uses of different drug groups

  • Bodily functions and responses to drugs

  • Side effects and drug interactions of commonly-administered drugs

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Theory in disease prevention

  • Health Promotion Planning

  • Education for health

  • To educate about different methods of preventive healthcare

  • Different ways of promoting health

  • Theories/models used in designing health promotion